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Just graduated and looking for your first job? Waste no time and take care of formalities.
You’ve just graduated? Congratulations, you are now ready to manage your own affairs! But before you start looking enthusiastically for a new job, you should sort out some formalities. We’ve put together a handy and comprehensive to-do list for you.
1. Register as a jobseeker
If you still haven’t found a job after 12 months, you are entitled to unemployment benefits. Provided that you are at least registered as a job seeker. You should not put this off. The sooner you register, the faster you are eligible for benefits. Once you are registered, you can also count on the support of the VDAB, Le Forem or Actiris (depending on the region where you live). In addition, you are entitled to financial benefits during your job search, such as a mobility allowance if you go to job interviews by public transport or discount on certificates issued by the municipality.
- Do you live in Flanders? If yes, you need to sort out your registration with the VDAB (public employment service of Flanders). You can do that through any of four channels:
- On the website www.vdab.be
- Through a WIS terminal (Jobseeker Information System) in a VDAB office
- By calling the toll free number 0800/30 700 (every working day from 8 am to 8 pm);
- In the nearest VDAB “werkwinkel”. You will find all the addresses on www.werkwinkel.be.
Do you live in Wallonia? In this case, you should visit Le Forem (Le Service Public Wallon de l’Emploi et de la Formation). You can do that in various ways:
- Go to the website www.leforem.be
- Visit one of the Forem offices
- Go to the nearest Maison de l’Emploi
- Call the toll free number 0800/93 947
Do you live in the German-speaking part of the country? You can turn to the ADG (Arbeitsamt der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft).
- At the VDAB: you can register from the month of January of your last academic year.
- At Actiris and Le Forem: as soon as you have completed your studies.
2. Join a health insurance fund
If you are registered with one of the employment services, you will remain insured at your parents’ insurance fund during your waiting period.
If you’ve found work or your waiting time is over, you are obliged by law to join a health insurance fund.
In Belgium, you can choose from six health insurance funds:
- Christelijke Mutualiteit: www.cm.be
- Socialistische Mutualiteiten: www.socmut.be
- Liberale Mutualiteit: www.lmvlg.be
- Onafhankelijke Ziekenfondsen/Mutualités Libres: www.mloz.be
- Neutrale ziekenfondsen/Les Mutualités Neutres: www.neutrale-ziekenfondsen.be
- Hulpkas voor Ziekte- en Invaliditeitsverzekering/Caisse Auxiliaire d’Assurance Maladie-Invalidité: www.caami-hziv.fgov.be
3. Has your waiting time expired?
You recently graduated and your waiting time has elapsed since then? You may be eligible for a waiting allowance. The National Employment Office (RVA in Dutch) will determine whether you are entitled to the allowance and what the amount will be. Below, the general rules and the way you should request the allowance.
Entitled to a waiting allowance?
Generally, you must satisfy four conditions in order to be entitled to a waiting allowance:
- You must have concluded your studies or your apprenticeship. Having passed exams is not a requisite.
- From 01/09/2015 you will need a secondary school diploma or to have completed vocational training with success if you are under 21 at the time of applying.
- You are no longer following studies with a full syllabus.
- You are under 25 years of age.
- You must be registered with the VDAB as a “schoolverlater in wachttijd” (“school leaver in waiting time”) and have used your waiting time.
N.B.: These are the general rules. For more information about the conditions, visit the NEO/RVA website.
Applying for your waiting allowance
You must do the following to apply for your waiting allowance:
- Once you complete your studies, register with the VDAB, Le Forem, Actiris or ADG as a “schoolverlater in wachttijd” (“school leaver in waiting time”). Your waiting time starts then.
- Have your school or apprenticeship secretary fill in form C 109/36-bewijs. If you obtained a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Belgian higher education and if you spent at least six academic years in Belgian nursery, primary or secondary education, in an institution organised, subsidised or recognised by the Community, a copy of your diploma is sufficient. You can print the form C 109/36-bewijs directly from the NEO/RVA website. Alternatively, you can pick it up from the VDAB, Actiris, ADG or Le Forem office, or from the “werkwinkel” close to you. Have it filled in by the school where you spent your last years of secondary education and possibly by the apprenticeship secretary of the institution where you attended classes in the context of a learning contract, part-time education or industrial apprenticeship. Fill in yourself the sections which apply for you.
- Change your registration: Is your 12-month vocational development phase almost over? You will receive a completed certificate from your employment service. That proves you were registered as a job seeker during your vocational development phase. Afterward, you should change your registration from “Ik ben werkloos (in beroepsinschakelingstijd/wachttijd)” (I am unemployed (during vocational development phase/waiting time) to “Ik ben werkloos” (I am unemployed).
- Register with your benefit payment agency.
There are 4 benefit payment agencies:
- The Hulpkas voor Werkloosheidsuitkeringen (HVW) for those who are not unionized. The service is free.
- Three trade unions: the liberal trade union ACLVB, the Christian trade union ACV, and the socialist trade union ABVV. You have to pay a membership fee to join a union.
Which documents should you take along to your benefit payment agency?
- Your identity card
- Your SIS card
- The completed certificate (A23) that you got from your employment service.
- The form C 109/36-aanvraag. You should fill in and sign yourself part I (“verklaring van de jongere en uitkeringsaanvraag”) and have part 2 filled in by the VDAB, Actiris or Le Forem. You can print this form directly from the NEO/RVA website or pick it up at your benefit payment agency.
- The form C 109/36-bewijs (filled in by your school and/or apprenticeship secretary and yourself) or a copy of your higher education diploma.
- If you worked during your waiting period: your C4, the dismissal document that you received from your employer.
- The account number to which your unemployment benefits should be paid.
- The date of birth of all the persons with whom you live.
If everything is correct and the forms are completed, the benefit payment agency will submit your claim to the NEO/RVA. It is the NEO/RVA which decides whether you are entitled to a benefit or not. Your benefit payment agency will then inform you of that decision, and pay your benefit (if you are entitled). So you don’t even need to contact the NEO/RVA.
You’ve got a job? Sign off!
You’ve found a job or you are going back to school after all? Sign off the register as soon as possible, even if it is a temporary or an interim job. Otherwise, you will keep receiving vacancies and invitations from VDAB, Actiris, Le Forem or ADG.
N.B.: If you are looking for a job again after a while, make sure to register again. Otherwise, your waiting time will stop.
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